Islamabad, Aug 29: Pakistan on Thursday ordered retrial of a Pakistani doctor who helped CIA find Osama bin Laden and overturned a 33 years jail term awarded to him early last year.
Shakeel Afridi ran a free vaccination campaign that he allegedly launched in al Qaida leader’s neighbourhood in Abbottabad in a bid to spy on him and to secure DNA samples of him and his family just months before he was killed in an operation by US Navy SEALs in May 2011.
Abbottabad is known for housing world's top military institutions including its prestigious training wing, Pakistan Military Academy.
It is believed that Afridi shared this information with the US intelligence agencies after finally getting access into the compound, which was razed to ground months after the operation in 2011.
Afridi, who hails from Afridi tribe was tried in the Khyber tribal district on charges of treason under the British-time Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) that unlike the Pakistan Criminal Code (CPRC), does not carry death penalty for high treason.
Commissioner Peshawar, who is the top administration official heard Afridi's appeal that he filed in June last year and set aside the original verdict of May 23 that handed him down 33 years in jail. He also asked the political agent of Khyber tribal region to restart the trial.
Afridi was reportedly picked up by Pakistani agencies near Peshawar, two weeks after bin Laden's death.
Officials said that Afridi had accepted helping the CIA by running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad but another official version that came after announcement of punishment to Afridi stated that he was jailed because of his close ties to the banned militant group
Lashkar-e-Islam of Haji Mangla Bagh, which operates in Khyber tribal region.